It seems like the majority of news involving indie game development has focused everywhere but Nintendo recently.
Sony has been extremely vocal in their pursuit of independent game developers of all kinds in recent months, with an especially big push made at this year’s E3.
PC owners have seen a tremendous rise in quality indie software development following the massive success of Steam’s indie spotlight, Steam Greenlight.
With all the other major players in the game market making very public progress in their pursuit of independent developers, and Nintendo’s seemingly shrinking 3rd party support, many have begun to fear that the gaming giant’s latest home console will become little more than a 1st party exclusive machine.
Those worries are not entirely unfounded, but according to a recent article out of online publication, Edge, the situation might not be as dire as it seems.
Rhodri Broadbent is the studio director of Dakko Dakko, the indie team behind games such as Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims, and The 2D adventures of Rotating Octopus Character. The team’s next project, Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails, will be coming exclusively to the the Wii U.
“Certainly in our experience Nintendo has been every bit as helpful as the other platform holders,” Broadbent told Edge. “They don’t shout very loudly about it, but they are working hard behind the scenes to make their platforms as welcoming as possible.”
Broadbent’s comments don’t seem out of place, as Nintendo has always had a very different approach not only to software and hardware development, but to market strategy as well. While this has, at times, been to the company’s harm, one need only look back at the massive success of the Wii to see the occasional genius that peeks out from behind Nintendo’s seemingly baffling decisions.
What benefit then, could be gained from a more reserved approach to indie development on the Wii U? We’ve already seen Nintendo actively avoiding Japanese indie developers. So what exactly is the method to their latest madness?
Phil Tossell, a former Rare staff member, and co-founder of the indie team Nyamyam, seems to think it has to do with maintaining quality, and he might just be onto something. A bevy of independent games on platform can be beneficial to the market, but too many, and that same market can become flooded and all the poorer for it.
“I think Nintendo are actively seeking indies, but that they’re looking for quality, experienced developers that they can maybe form a longer term relationship with,” Tossell told Edge. “I get the feeling that they don’t want a free for all like the App Store, rather a more curated experience. Quality over quantity.”
Only time will tell if such a strategy will be more beneficial for Nintendo in the long run, but for now most of the company’s efforts to woo independent developers to the Wii U seem to be going under the radar.